Thursday, August 21, 2014

More on the "DQ and reverse" rule adopted by some USTA sections

I wrote a couple days ago about how the "DQ and reverse" rule regarding matches played by DQ'd self-rated players can have interesting effects on the results at USTA League playoffs and result in premature celebration.

Someone commented on that blog and I came across a scenario in a section where the rule is to DQ and reverse where the DQ effect was even deeper.

Imagine team A going in to their last match against team B with both having 2-0 records, the winner advancing to Nationals.  Team A wins their 3rd court while 1D is still finishing.  Team A 1D goes ahead and finishes and wins in a match tie-break, so a 4-1 win and off to Nationals right?

Not so fast.  Team A 1D had a self-rated player that was DQ'd in that last match.  Ok, so 3-2 win and off to Nationals then right?

Not so fast.  Team A had an earlier 3-2 win where the DQ'd player had won, and since this was now reversed too, that became a 3-2 loss.  So now the teams are both 2-1 and the courts won tie-break (this was before the new rule using head-to-head earlier) sends team B to Nationals.  This happens despite the fact that they just lost 4-1 (even 3-2 if you want to reverse the DQ'd match) to the other team.

Now, if the team A DQ'd player was really out of level as the DQ indicated, you can make the argument that this is the right thing.  Team A shouldn't benefit from having an out of level player.  But it introduces complications and delays regarding going back farther into prior round robin phases to have the champion ultimately determined.

It also creates situations where a team may actually benefit from throwing a match against a self-rated player in order to get them DQ'd and reverse an earlier match.  Imagine a scenario where team A is 4-0 in round-robin play and is playing a 2-2 team B in their last match.  There is no chance for the team B right?  Best case is they win and only get to 3-2 and team A is 4-1.

Not so fast.  In this case, team B could lose the match 3-2, and have a record of 2-3 while team A's is 5-0, but team B end up winning and advancing.  How?

If team A has a self-rated player that is carrying two strikes and won a court in a prior 3-2 win, and team B throws the match against that player causing them to be DQ'd.  It is also possible that if the match wasn't thrown, the player would not have gotten a third strike.

In this scenario, that team A 3-2 win becomes a 3-2 loss.  Ok, the records are now team A 4-1 and team B 3-2.  But wait, that prior team A 3-2 win now gets reversed too and team A falls back to a 3-2 record.  One can then conjure up scenarios where team B wins the tie-breaker between the teams at 3-2.

So, as unlikely as this scenario may seem, the extra delays and checks to determine the champ, and this incentive to throw matches or other related shenanigans are possibly the argument some sections use to not adopt the "DQ and reverse" approach.